Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Listening for the voice of guidance

"Our noisy passions," says Desmond Tutu in today's reading from Made for Goodness, "are like an unruly kindergarten class.  Each hope, fear, ambition, dream, and desire tries to shout louder than the others to make itself heard.  

The voice of God guides like a gifted teacher.  The experienced teacher does not address the class with a booming voice to be heard above the din.  He speaks quietly and calmly, a steady current beneath the noise.  To this child a word and a touch, to this one a look and a murmur, until each child -- curiosity piqued -- hushes so he or she can listen.  The calm and constant presence below the undisciplined tumult of our ideas and emotions is the voice of God guiding us to goodness.

We can continue to react to the insistent demands of our unruly passions and remain tone-deaf to God.  Or we can use the practice of prayer to help us hear, ever more perfectly, the guidance that God offers.  God is our constant companion, and can help us to choose, from among the plethora of paths that are spread out before us, the one that leads to flourishing.  The guide who becomes known to us in prayer steadies us when we stumble and cradles us when we fall.  That guide can show us the way back to goodness, however far from the path we stray."

"Child, do you not know my voice?
... Have you not heard me yet?
I am very near.
I breathe in your breath, 
I pray in your prayer,
Have you not heard me yet?
Stop and see.
Look, listen.
That is me."

-- Desmond Tutu